Development of a Painting:
"Vase & Squash"

This is the history of a new painting, showing its development from the initial idea to the final image.


SketchSketch
After setting up a still life, I make several sketches, varying the postion of objects, and manipulating the lights and shadows until I have a compostion I like.
(December, 1996)
Line DrawingLine Drawing
I draw a careful line drawing on tracing paper. This is the exact size of the final painting, and sets the location of every object.
(Dec. 26, 1996)
Initial Value PaintingValue Painting
The first painting! I place a new sheet of tracing paper over the line drawing and paint a black and white study on it. Here is where I work out the values (lights and darks) that will be the backbone of the painting. This will serve as a reference for the final canvas.
(Dec. 29, 1996)
Day 1Day 1
The first painting on the final canvas. I've transferred the line drawing to the canvas, then added underpainting of burnt sienna in what will be the middle-tones and lighter areas. The darker areas receive their first glaze of ultramarine. (Glazing is painting a transparent paint layer, frequently over a lighter-value underpainting.)
Day 2Day 2
Second glaze of green (ultramarine and Hansa yellow) in shadows. Finished underpainting.
Day 3Day 3
Third glaze: Alizarin except on shadows on wood--those in Hansa yellow. Started painting bowl and stone (direct). Thin paint, true colors. Left some underpainting showing through the stone.
Day 4Day 4
Orange glaze (alizarin, ultramarine, Hansa) over all shadows, except ultramarine on background and shadows on table. Added more paint on squash for brushstroke texture, which I will glaze over later. Started direct painting on vase.
Day 5Day 5
Painted the onions. Repainted outside of bowl and handles. A bit of scumbling on stone. glazed all darks. (Scumbling is overpainting with with opaque paint, usually lighter than the underpainting.) Alizarin on wood shadows to make less green. Added more blue to background. Painted walnuts.
Day 6Day 6
Repainted the vase and main squash. Glazed first blue shadow on dark side of squash. Scumble texture to stone shadows. Painted some texture on shadow squash so it will have different glazed texture than background. Repainted wood table more yellow. I'm working to get details of the squashes in case they rot. Glazed dull blue over left background with a shaving brush. I liked the effect, but it was too dark, so I rubbed some out with a cloth pad.
Day 7
Glaze background with dull blue. Start glazing shadow side of main squash similarly, also shadow squash. Add texture to stone with greens and greys with palette knife. Add pits. Repaint inside of bowl, add details to rim and handles. Scumble shadow side of bown with raw Sienna + burnt Sienna. Glaze shadows on stone dull yellow to reduce purpleness.
(Jan. 21, 1997)
Day 8
Glaze background orange-red (was too green). Paint lights on shadow squash, lighter than final so I can glaze later. Reflections from bowl to table in white, raw Umber and raw Sienna. Glaze yellowish tone (ultramarine and raw Sienna) over most of main squash adjust color. Glaze shadow dull blue. Scumble with palette knife stone in warm and cool greys. Also, a raw Umber glaze in darks. Add more pits with highlights.
(Jan. 24, 1997)
Day 9
Day 9
Day 9
Soften edge of stone. Add nicks on edge. Add texture to table. Soften all edges on main squash; glaze shadow side. Paint roots on white onion; glaze dark side. Lights on vase. Glaze walnut near bowl orange, right side wall reddish-orange.
(Jan. 28, 1997)
Day 10
Repaint vase, walnut near stone (alizarin in darks), stem on orange onion, inside of bowl, on left, adding reflections.
(Jan. 31, 1997)
Day 11
Add green glaze (ultramarine + raw Sienna) for main squash middletones. Soften edges of nuts and cast shadows. Repaint outside of bowl. Scumble right wall lighter to show reflected light from table, soften its edge. Glaze top of wall darker.
(Feb. 2, 1997)
Day 12
Glaze darks on squash.
(Feb. 7, 1997)
Day 13
Glaze background on right darker; glaze squash darks.
(Feb. 11, 1997)
Day 14
Repaint shadow squash. First glazed a dull blue then painted opaque lights into it while wet. Glazed shadows on top right darker.
(Feb. 14, 1997)
Day 15
Glaze shadow squash darker so it is more dark than the table but lighter than the wall (very subtle). softened vertical edge of shadow on back wall.
(Feb. 18, 1997)

Varnishing
Varnished with a 70/30 mix of Dan Smith gloss/matte methacrylate, brushed on.
(June 15, 1997)